I adore cooking food on a cedar plank. Why? Let me count the ways…
1. Baking on a cedar plank imparts a subtle wood flavor to meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, and vegetables, adding warmth and complexity to any dish.
2. The baking planks are designed for baking in the oven and they last for years (even if they crack, you can place them on a baking sheet to catch any juices).
3. Wooden planks belong in a healthy cook’s arsenal because, once seasoned the first time, they retain their moisture and require very little, if any, fat to prevent sticking.
4. Because wooden planks retain moisture, they help maintain the natural juices in meats and vegetables, keeping the food moist as well as flavorful.
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- Robin's Cedar Plank Tilapia With Fresh Chimichurri
I thank Kyle, my 10 year-old son, for introducing me to cedar planks. If it weren’t for his palate, I wouldn’t have made a desperate dash to get the planks and learn how to cook with them.
Here’s what happened: Kyle discovered and immediately adored a meal in a restaurant: chili-crusted tilapia, cooked and served on a cedar plank and topped with chimichurri sauce. He cherished the dish so much, he jokingly nibbled on the plank once the fish was gone. We enjoyed many tilapia-filled evenings at that restaurant over the next two years. Then, one disastrous night, our server told us the tilapia was no longer on the menu. The news almost brought Kyle, and me, to tears.
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